It' Wednesday which means it's word of the week time. This weeks word is scarification.

What is Scarification?

Scarification is a process of weakening or opening the coat of a seed to encourage germination. Scarification is usually achieved mechanical or chemical means, unlike stratification which is temperature related.

In nature, this can happen by the seed passing through the digestion system of an animal. The stomach acids begin to break down the outer coating leaving "scarring" on the outer coating. This then starts the germination process off when it emerges.

Another natural process is where the seed could sit in water for a length of time such as floating down a river or across oceans. Again this soaking breaks down the outer coating to start germination.

Us gardeners may find some seeds that we want to grow will need to go through a scarification process. Depending on the seed I use 1 of the options below.

  1. Soaking the seed in an acidic solution. I have only ever had to do this with tea seeds.
  2. Soaking the seeds overnight in water. I have done this with several types of seed including banana and peas.
  3. Nicking the coating of the seed with a knife file or even sandpaper. Gardeners often recommend this method for sweet peas.

As with all seeds I always recommend to read the seed packet first to see what conditions the seed company states is required for germination.

If you want more information the following links have some great reading on scarification.

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